I applaud Will Chen’s recent commentary in My Edmonds News, “Reader View: Names matter – Covid-19 vs. ‘Chinese Virus’. (March 29, 2020). Mr. Chen’s letter was well written and contained supporting evidence and argument. He persuasively argued that the way words are used can inspire ignorance in people. My hope is that we in Edmonds extend this concern for fairness and acceptance to all groups and ethnicities.
Therefore, I am sharing an email that I felt compelled to write to my work colleagues, a group which on the surface claims to have deep concern for racist attitudes and language. In the email I included this My Edmonds News post from Larry Vogel, which references the man who was randomly attacked and to which I refer in the email to my colleagues.
I am sorry to say that I have heard several times in the staff lounge and other places, staff making disparaging and what they THOUGHT were funny comments about “old white men.” I want to make sure that everyone here is aware that prejudice and hate speech is not limited to certain groups. When it becomes acceptable to talk about certain groups of people in hateful and unkind ways and that becomes common practice in the vernacular, then it can become “acceptable” to verbally or even physically attack people. We have no way of knowing what the motive for the attack on this gentleman was. However, it certainly does seem to be a random hate crime. Please think carefully about what you say and maybe think about being consistent in your attitudes about kindness, fairness, race and equity.
My sincere vision for Edmonds is that we remain a community which celebrates all our citizens and cultures even in the face of an existential threat such as the current COVID-19 virus.